Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dusting off the blog....

I can't believe I haven't posted since January.

Sarah is continuing to do well.  She is repeating second grade as is standard for her program.  We were going to try her in a different program, but ended up keeping her where she is as it was a bit too challenging for her.  She is adequately challenged where she is now, I think.  Also, her current school was more than happy to allow Sean to transfer.  I liked our zoned school just fine, but having both kids in the same school is pretty awesome.  They love riding the bus together, and Sarah likes to walk Sean to class.  This has resulted in Sean having basically no idea how to get to his classroom by himself, but I'm not super concerned about it.  I asked his teacher to please make sure if Sarah is absent that he gets to class okay.

As far as eating goes, she's doing pretty well.  She still has a somewhat limited diet, but has taken some recent interest in different foods.  She eats pizza like crazy now.  In fact, this school year, she started buying lunch on "pizza days."  Her teacher has told me she has been trying new food in the cafeteria.  I'm happy about that.  She has also taken a recent interest in pancakes.  She still has a long way to go before she can eat them well, but she likes to order the "Create a Face" pancakes at IHOP when we go.  I think a lot of it has to do with the yogurt tube, but she at least tries a bite or two.  We still have to bring her food when we go, but I'm happy if she takes a bite or two and gets them down.

She played adaptive soccer this fall and loved it.  I really liked that she had a nice program and could learn at her pace.  It was at the same field as her brother.  This worked out for some long Saturdays this past fall, but the kids really enjoyed it.  She is still playing ice hockey and taking dance class.  I pulled her from jazz this year for scheduling reasons and the lack of structure.  She did okay last year, but it was definitely the class where she struggled quite a bit.  She is happy with ballet and tap, so that works well for us.

We did adaptive swim over the summer.  She did okay with it.  I am hoping we can start up again next month.  She has gotten a bit braver in the water lately.  The kids had off this past Monday for a professional development day (and to torture parents who'd just had them four days in a row for Thanksgiving! Hahaha!), so I took them to the Y to swim.  Instead of hanging on the wall the whole time, she actually did some dog paddling while using a noodle to float.

My kids have already seen Santa twice this year.  I'm hoping that is good enough for them.  They saw him Friday at Festival of Trees.  It was a benefit for Kennedy Krieger, and my older niece was performing with her dance company.  My kids had a great time and loved seeing their cousin.  I took them to a local mall on Monday after swimming to see Santa.  I dressed them in their nice Christmas outfits for that Santa visit and couldn't get over how grown up Sarah looked! She was wearing clip-on earrings, and I feel like those made her look so much older.

As far as growth goes, Sarah has gotten tall lately! She was measured in October, I think, at 4 ft 3 1/2 inches.  She weighed about 65 pounds.  I couldn't believe it.  She is wearing a size 10 in girls' clothes.  She is still a skinny thing, though.  She wants to wear jeans all the time, yet lacks the fine motor skills to button and zip them.  She mostly wears jeggings at this point, which solves the fine motor problem and she doesn't usually argue about them.

Here are some recent pictures:

professional fall picture, my favorite of her recently

Santa at Festival of Trees

dressed up for Santa visit

Santa at the mall

Monday, January 28, 2013

What a difference a year makes

So, I was going to write this blog on her 8th birthday, but the kiddos have me swamped lately!

Sarah turned 8 last Wednesday.  The Saturday prior to that, we had her birthday party.  It was probably the best one we've thrown for either kid.  While the bowling party was fun last year, it wasn't conducive to having the family come as well.  The swim parties we've thrown in the past are nice, but we have a lot of people who don't want to get in the pool with their kids.  Or, they don't want to put the kids in the water in the winter, etc.  We did one at a bounce house, which was fun, but the party room was tiny and the food was expensive.  This year we rented the party room at the local YMCA.  It was cost-effective, we brought our own food, and the Y provided the tablecloths, paper goods, etc.  I kept it simple too - just goldfish crackers, potato chips, and pretzel sticks.  I bought soda, lemonade, and juice boxes.  I got Sarah a Sonic cake that she loved, so that was pretty awesome too.  Her brother has already told us several times that he wants a party there too, and we are happy to oblige.

Also, for the first time EVER, we took Sarah out to dinner for her birthday.  We actually did it the day after, but that was due to her dance class on her birthday.  I brought cupcakes to dance class, and they were a hit with the kids.  Sarah only licked the icing off of hers, but that is totally fine with me.  She did the same with her piece of cake at her party.

So, here's a comparison from age 7 to age 8.  She hasn't been to the doctor for her physical yet, so I don't have a height/weight comparison.  I went with clothing sizes.

Clothing sizes then:
13 shoe, 6X pants, 6X or 7 tops, leotard size 6 (with a 7-8 in one brand)

2 shoe, 7 pants, 8 tops, 7-8 leotard

Food then:
baby food, spaghetti-o's (plain only), tomato soup with Elmo shaped pasta, vanilla pudding, smooth yogurt

macaroni and cheese at regular texture, beefaroni at regular texture, spaghetti-o's (with or without meatballs, meatballs need to be cut up), ravioli cut up, beef stew fork-mashed, canned spaghetti and meatballs (meatballs cut up), almost any vegetable fork-mashed, most fruits fork-mashed, vanilla pudding, yogurt with or without chunks of fruit, NO MORE BABY FOOD

Social skills then:
Can name entire class and staff at school, greets others properly, but no real friends

Social skills now:
Still names class and staff and greets others properly, has a BEST FRIEND

Reading then:
10 sight words (maybe)

Reading now:
Not sure of the number of sight words, but she can read simple books with some help, probably 30 sight words now if I had to guess

Math then:
could count up to 100, identify up to 3-digit numbers

Math now:
Can do simple addition and subtraction with help

Bus then:
Would be scrambling to get ready and nearly miss the bus (although I blame the nearly missing the bus somewhat on the driver who never looked at our front door to see me signal that Sarah was almost ready)

Bus now:
Waits for the bus BY HERSELF and gets off BY HERSELF as well

Favorite character then:

Favorite character now:
Sonic (although she still loves Elmo)

I can't believe how much she has changed and grown in just a year.

And here are a few pictures:

Birthday cake

Eating her cake

Excuse the expression, but here she is on her birthday ready for dance class in the new outfit she got from friends of ours.

Enjoying her personal pizza from Pizza Hut that the manager gave her for free for her birthday

Playing Nickelodeon Dance on the Wii with her best friend

Sharing a hug with her best friend

Friday, January 18, 2013

One year later

So, today is the one-year anniversary of the day we started the clinic.  Last night, Sarah ate more than one slice of pizza.  About a slice and 1/4, but I'm happy with that.  She chewed it up, and only spit out two bites. She left the crust, but don't most kids her age?

She's gotten a bit selective about her food, but overall she's doing fine.  She'd prefer I always offer peas and carrots with every meal. I'm mean, so I only indulge her for breakfast.  We have decided macaroni and cheese is an acceptable breakfast.  She'll eat oatmeal if I force the issue, but who has time for that before school?

She still takes ballet and tap, but we've added jazz.  She loves it!  She now takes swim lessons as well, and just this week got moved up a session in hockey.  This means one more hour of sleep on Saturday morning for whoever takes her!

I'm really pleased with where she is, although if I had everything I wanted, she'd be eating like most kids her age.  I've accepted that she isn't ready for it yet.  But, I haven't bought baby food in forever, so I don't care.

Here are a few pics of her at Pizza hut last night.

Excuse the weird hair.  She'd just come from swim class.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Update

So, I'm the worst updater ever.  I can't believe it's nearly four months since I updated.  Oops.

We've been busy here as usual.  I feel like I spend my days just running the kids from one activity to another.  I'm just glad I had the sense this session to register Sean for a Tuesday morning swim class at the Y.  An evening class would be next to impossible, and the weekends are just so full most of the time.  It makes for a bit of a rush to get him home, fed, and on the bus, but I manage.  Sarah has her own swim lessons, which of course are at a different time and place.  Both kids dance, but that's back-to-back at the same place.  Both kids get private speech therapy at a local college, at different times.  For the moment, I'm okay with that.  Once Sean goes to kindergarten, I'll try and see if they can put the kids at the same time.  Sarah is playing her third season of hockey, and she's doing great at it.

Sarah is eating okay.  I'd love to say she's doing great, but overall she's just eating okay.  Breakfast is a struggle.  I got her eating macaroni and cheese for breakfast.  Unconventional, I know, but something had to give because the mornings were just a bunch of tears.  Hers and mine.  I managed to get her to eat oatmeal yesterday, but it was a struggle.  She got some new DVD's for Christmas, and they seem to help more with reinforcing proper behavior.  She definitely still loves her Chef Boyardee foods, and eats them without complaining.  Sometimes she's a tad picky about whether it's spaghetti or ravioli, but generally, she eats them fine.  She tried a few bites of Thanksgiving dinner.  She didn't like turkey (not surprised about that), but she did eat several bites of my mom's sweet potato dish.  I got her to eat one bite of sweet potatoes and one bite of carrots at Christmas dinner.  I think she would have done better with the carrots had they been canned and not frozen, but I'm happy she made an effort.  Pizza is still generally a hit with her, but it's so difficult for her to eat right now.  She takes a very, very long time to eat one slice.

Oh, and if anyone didn't get the memo, October seemed to be "crap on our family" month.  Seriously, it was probably the worst month of my entire life.  My husband and sister-in-law left on the 1st to be with their mother.  She'd been in hospice for a little over a month, and we got the call that they'd better come over and see her right away.  My mother-in-law held on until the 6th, when she passed away peacefully in her home.  It was a horrible week at home for the kids and me, and even worse for my husband and sister-in-law.  The kids and I managed okay, but it was hard and the nights were especially difficult for me.  I just tried to keep things as normal as possible for the kids so I didn't stress them out too much.  The following weeks were horrible too.  Not only were we grieving, we also seemed to catch every germ within a 10-mile radius.  Sean got hand, foot, and mouth disease, Sarah ran a fever with no other symptoms later that week.  The week after that, Sean threw up twice unexpectedly and then slept for three hours.  He was fine after that, and mad that "mean mommy" made him eat Pedialyte popsicles and wouldn't let him have anything else.  Sarah went home early from school the following day, but just seemed tired for about an hour and fine after that.  I got a sinus infection, and my husband got strep early the following week.  My sister-in-law was sick for nearly a month, and ended up with either bronchitis, pneumonia, or sinusitis.  The doctors weren't sure which.  The final Saturday of October, we took the kids to Sesame Place again, just to have at least one fun memory for the month.  Oh, and then Hurricane Sandy hit here.  We were lucky that we didn't lose power, save for a few small flickers, and didn't sustain any damage.  Rob get a few extra days off of work because his building was without power for a long while.  We took the kids to a local mall for trick-or-treating instead of my parents' neighborhood like usual (because mine has very few houses who participate for whatever reason).  It was cold out, and I didn't want to risk anyone getting sick again.  We ended up on the news, but didn't find out until after it aired.  I couldn't find any video online, so too bad for us I guess.  Also, I had the misfortune of having one child back at school the Wednesday after the hurricane and one who didn't go because the school didn't have power.  Since my kids LOVE school, the one who didn't have school was mad at the one who did.  Ugh.  At least we got to see Sarah in her Halloween parade at school without worrying about Sean's dismissal.  The kids dressed up as Sonic and Knuckles from the Sonic the Hedgehog video games.  They were so cute!

November was slightly better than October.  Sean got pink eye and a sinus infection and was under doctor's orders to stay home from school for THREE DAYS.  I was NOT happy.  At all.  I'm getting rotten letters from his school regarding his attendance.  I'm sorry he's been sick so much.  Geez.  I really don't think missing that much pre-K is so horrible.  He's missed 9 days this year, which I agree is ridiculous, but we're just unlucky, not bad parents.  Anyway, I ended up with a rotten cold in November, and my husband got bronchitis.  I'm pretty sure Sarah was sick with something at some point, but maybe not.  We hosted Thanksgiving as usual, and it was a small group for us.  I think we had a total of ten people.  It was tough for Rob and his sister, especially, since this was the first holiday after losing their mother.  Their stepfather had other plans for Thanksgiving, so he wasn't even there.

December was germy too.  We got a stomach bug, and a cold.  Sarah had a fever one night, so she missed school the day before her Christmas party.  She was MAD, but at least it broke in time for her to go to school the last day before Christmas (errr...Winter) Break.  Everyone was healthy on Christmas, other than a cough or sniffle here or there.  The kids really understood Santa this year.  Sean wasn't afraid anymore, and both kids understood that they were supposed to ask for something.  We had to explain to Sarah that the gifts aren't instant, but she got the idea after her third (yes, third) Santa visit.  We saw Santa at the mall, then we saw him at Dinner with Santa at Sean's school, and then at Sesame Place.  The kids both got the gifts they REALLY wanted, so that was nice for everyone.

Sarah got chosen for the Sesame Place parade again, this time outright.  Last time, she was chosen because Sean refused.  I got video of it, and I thanked the person who picked her profusely.  She's usually "too big" to participate.  I get that, but the performers don't realize she's almost 8 physically, but closer to 4 or 5 mentally.

Here is Little Miss in the parade.  She's the adorable one in a purple coat with a pink hat.

I think that's enough for now.  I hope everyone had a great holiday, whatever you celebrate!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Just an update

So, some good, some not so good here.

- Sarah started second grade this week.  She has a new teacher, which is actually unusual for her program.  The previous one is moving out of the country, so we have somebody else now.  So far, Sarah seems to like her.  I liked her quite a bit when I met her last week at "sneak a peek at your seat" day.  I'm hoping this is a great year for her.

- Sean starts pre-K next week.  He would have started this week, but his school does a gradual entry.  In my opinion, it's too gradual.  I get that there are kids who have never been to school, but how on earth is a half hour with a parent one day and an hour with a parent another day going to prepare them for a regular 2 1/2 day without a parent next week?  We had our first day yesterday, which was more of a parent orientation than anything.  He was nervous, but he was fine once we entered the classroom.  He happily went to the classroom assistant and did a craft while I sat with the parents and went over everything.

- Sarah has gotten more adventurous with her food.  She has taken more interest in pizza lately, and she is eating some regular textures in her meal.  She loves diced cucumbers dipped in ranch dressing, pretzel sticks, and today she tried peas.  She's had fork-mashed peas before, but she likes them at a regular texture too.  She seems to find utensils unnecessary, though, so I sent off an e-mail to her feeding therapist to see whether or not I need to address that.  At the moment, I'm not stressing too much over it.  I think we just won't be serving those to her in public.  It is nice, and I'll admit a bit weird to me, to see her actually chewing food.  She had been getting around it with fork-mashed food, but she can't with regular textured food.  I am still dumbfounded to see her put food in her mouth and chew it.  She's slower than kids her age should be because it's still so new to her, but I'll take it.  She couldn't do it at all before the clinic, so I'm really proud of her!

- Sarah has gotten SUPER brave lately in general.  We went to Sesame Place last week and she rode everything.  The roller coaster, the flying fish, the swings, the teacups (with Daddy and Sean because Mommy HATES that ride), and anything else she could.  This time last year she couldn't work up the guts to ride the flying fish, and this time she wanted to ride it by herself.  Sean was too tiny to ride without an adult (or teen) companion, so I made her ride with me.  She was mad, but got over it.  There were no tears over rides, and she did great.  She got to hug Elmo, Abby, and Super Grover too.  There was a meltdown in the bathroom I'd like to publicly apologize to the entire Philadelphia area for having to hear, but otherwise she was really good.

Not So Good:

- Sean's school moved him from morning pre-K to afternoon pre-K at the last minute.  I was furious, especially because I've had to re-vamp quite a few things.  The kids go to different schools, and they get out at the same time.  They are about 20 minutes apart if I had to guess, so afternoon activities are becoming difficult to schedule since I haven't mastered the art of being in two places at once.  I tried to see today if I could pick Sarah up and be home in time for Sean's bus (since he wasn't on it yet due to gradual entry), and I arrived when his bus did.  That's cutting it too close and I'm not about to risk it.  If I have to pick Sarah up, I'm going to have to do it early.  Anyway, the reason they moved Sean was because of the educational goals on his IEP.  The 4's special ed class only meets in the afternoon, and it made more sense to put him in the afternoon for this reason.  I get that, but why nobody figured this out before last Friday is beyond me.  He's learned so much over the summer that I'm wondering how much he'll need the special instruction anyway.

- Breakfast for Sarah has become World War III.  Sarah seems to not like oatmeal too much, which I can handle, but she doesn't like any other breakfast foods either! The booger asks for pancakes, I think that's likely because Sean eats them frequently, and then acts even more ridiculous than she does with oatmeal.  I can do the protocol until we're both blue in the face and she just doesn't care.  I think she actually thinks up ways to avoid oatmeal in her sleep.  Anyway, her psychologist (not part of KKI at all) suggested I give up the battle and just give her a non-breakfast food (sorry, Dad).  So I think tomorrow's breakfast will be mac and cheese.  That should make breakfast more peaceful.

Anyway, time to share a few photos.

having some pizza the other night

waiting for the bus on the first day

more waiting for the bus

trying to get away from the annoying Mommy with the camera

riding a ride on our recent vacation

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Follow-up #2

So, I came in with some questions.  Thankfully, Sarah is doing pretty well overall.  She's growing well, and is generally compliant during meals.  We have successfully added mac and cheese (only Chef Boyardee or Velveeta, she hates Kraft because it's so dry) and creamed corn to her list, both at regular texture, and the team was pleased.  It was nice to say hi to people we hadn't seen in a while as well.

Anyway, we are struggling with breakfast.  I don't have a preferred "go-to" main course for her right now.  Oatmeal is pretty touch and go.  Pancakes, she thinks she likes, but struggles with every time.  This morning she begged for pancakes and it was AWFUL.  I think part of the problem with pancakes is the texture, and the way KKI got them down for her, they aren't remotely like normal pancakes.  I asked about cutting normal pancakes up really small and having her dip them in syrup.  They liked this idea and suggested I present this at snack time, one bite at a time.  They said french toast sticks might be easier.  I don't have any of those in the house, but she is good with a fork and might be able to manage with pancakes.  We'll see.

They said we can start adding regular textured foods to her meals if she is doing well with them at snack time.  Since she DEVOURS cucumbers with ranch dressing, I think a small volume of those might go into her meal sometime soon.

I need to call her allergist soon and see about introducing eggs since her skin test showed a weak positive.  If she can eat scrambled eggs okay and decides she likes them, that's another breakfast option.

So, it looks like we have some experimenting to do in the future.

For those keeping track, Little Miss is 4 ft 1 inch, and weighs 56 pounds.  What a big girl!

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's been too long...

I guess part of it is that there really isn't much to tell.  For the most part, Sarah is eating well.  She isn't really giving me a hard time most days, and nothing much is going on.  She finished school on June 8, and today she started summer school.  Or, "extended school year", specifically.  Four weeks of mornings with only one kid.  Pretty nice for me.

Summer has been relatively uneventful.  Just hanging around, going to therapy, of course, and we did spend two days at parks.  One was a local park with a feeding clinic friend, and another was at Sesame Place, Sarah's favorite place in the world.  The kids really love it there, and it's worth the two-hour drive since Sarah has such a nice time.  She got to dance in the parade when we went, but the little booger deleted the video from my phone before I could get it off the phone and uploaded anywhere.

I did have surgery two weeks ago, but it was just a hernia repair.  I'm still a tad sore from time to time, and I have to remind myself not to strain myself, but I'm recovering well otherwise.

Sarah is on a water-drinking kick.  For anyone who knows her, that's kind of new.  She would normally only drink it begrudgingly.  She still loves her milk the best, but she seems really into drinking water now.  I don't know why that's so interesting to her now, but we're going with it.

She has been very independently lately.  She likes to dress herself, and heaven forbid anyone open a door for her.  She will slam it shut so she can do it herself.  Drives me bananas, but I suppose it's better than her refusing to do anything for herself.

Oh, and both kids started swimming lessons recently.  Sarah is going to a special needs place and loving it.  Sean is at the Y and is terrified.  He is getting better, though.  All I ask of Sean is that he listen to his instructor since I know he's going to be scared anyway, and he did better at his last lesson.  I hope he does well tonight.

Quick billing vent.  I finally got a bill for our stay.  Okay, fine.  We were supposed to be on a payment plan for our portion of the bill, which thankfully wasn't a ton compared to what we would have had to pay had we lost our lawsuit.  I called because it was for the full amount, and they had "no record of us being on a payment plan." Um, seriously? Anyway, they were really nice about it and we got ourselves on a payment plan, but what a pain in the butt.  I would have made payments earlier, but I wasn't going to be randomly send checks that would land in oblivion.  Ugh.  Is it just me, or does everywhere you go for anything health-related seem to have people screw up the billing?

That's all for now.  Waiting for Little Miss to get off the bus.  I hope she had a good day.